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This profile was written by Elizabeth an active contributor to the site.  


Central America


amphilophus labiatus

Amphilophus labiatus


    Red devil is the common name for two species of cichlid fish from genus Amphilophus. In North America, red devils are generally Amphilophus labiatus while in Australia, red devil are generally Amphilophus Citrinellus or a hybrid. {A.labiatus X A. citrinellus}Both species are from the neotropics and are red to pink in coloration. This bright coloration, in combination with typical cichlid behaviors make it a popular and interesting aquarium inhabitant.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Average adult size: 14" (36 cm)
    Tank: Min. Tank requirements: 75 gallons
    Strata: Bottom, middle
    PH: PH recommendation 7.0 to 8.0
    Hardness: Hardness: 6 to 25dH
    Temperature: 70°F to 80°F (21°-27° C)


    Order: Perciformes
    Family: Cichlidae
    Sub Family: Cichlasomatinae
    Genera: Amphilophus
    Species: labiatus

Common name:

    Red devil

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Central America: They are found in the lakes of Nicaragua and Managua.

General Body Form:

    All red devils begin their life with stripes and they begin to develop their characteristic red coloration from around 3" to 4". They can go through many phases before they reach adult coloration. Which can range from a pale yellow to a brilliant orange or red. Some will develop patches of color,patches of black,black spots and sometimes even black stripes on their journey to maturity. Males will develop an impressive nuchal hump as they grow. Males are larger and have elongated anal and dorsal fins. Some females will also develop the beginnings of a hump although it will never be as spectacular as a males would be. It is almost impossible in this day and age to find a pure Red devil at the local pet store. They are extremely close genetic relationship to to A. citrinellum{Midas cichlid} means that cross breeding is rampant and almost every Red devil offered for sale will contain at least some citrinellum in its background somewhere.. These species do not differ that much in looks or personality. Red devils tend to have thicker and more pointed lips . Where the Midas will have thinner and more rounded lips. If you are after a pure Red devil you must be picky about who you buy your fish from.

    amphilophus labiatus


    The minimum size tank for a single Red devil is 55gal, although they will do far better in a larger tank. I feel that a Red devil should be housed in a 75gal or even a 90gal to be happy. They are fish that need their space. If you are looking to keep a pair you would need at least a 75gal. Tanks should be set up with plenty of open swimming space ..Substrate should be sand or fine gravel.. Red devils tank is more a matter of what your fish decides is best. Rather then what you think it should look like. Regular water changes and good filtration is essential.

    Inhabits lakes in its native range.


    Once a bond is formed red devils are substrate spawners .A pit will be dug out by the male and female ,then eggs will be laid,usually between 600 and 700 and fertilized by the male. The eggs will hatch in approximately 3-5 days and the parents will move the fry to various other pits that have been dug around the tank. Both parents will be extremely protective of fry for several weeks. This is not the time to be disturbing them..Given a Red devils habit of attacking anything that enters his territory you can imagine how much worse they would be with fry to protect. If you value your fingers do not disturb Red devils at this time. Red devils are heavily muscled in the jaw and mouth area and are capable of doing serious damage.

amphilophus labiatus


Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Chris H.
Date: 1/10/2017
In 1987, I moved into my apt. I got a little Red Devil Cichlid to keep my Gourami and Angel Fish company. He was so tiny I was afraid they might have him for a snack. Shortly thereafter, I got a job on a cruise ship and sublet my apt. to several different people over 2 years. They all commented on the personality of the Cichlid. When I came back, I saw what they were talking about. The 8 year old daughter of a friend who was staying with me especially bonded with him, and named him Freddie. Over the years this was shortened to Fred, and he lived for 20 years! Many of my friends would visit me and go directly to Fred's tank to play with him, and he was very interactive. He developed relationships with individual people and he clearly had his favorites; for some of his human friends he would swim around in a circle, make a fuss and "kiss" them through the glass (or possibly try to bite them; it's hard to tell the difference with a Cichlid!), while with other people he couldn't be bothered. I could call his name and wave at him from across the room, and he would come to the edge of the tank and look at me as if to say "what game shall we play now?", though he was probably just wondering "what's for dinner!" We had several games he loved to play, such as hide and seek and he got very excited when he saw the color red. One favorite game was to show him a food pellet through the glass, and then suspend it above the water. He would slowly open his mouth as he surfaced and if you dropped the pellet with the correct timing, it would go right down the hatch! For one of my (his) friends, he would actually surface and let her pet his back like a dolphin (very lightly)! In 2004 I started seeing a woman who lived 90 miles away, and would spend most of the week with her. Poor Fred; he went from having tons of interaction to almost none, and I believe it ultimately killed him. In 2005 he developed a tumor and despite my best efforts, he died in 2007. I believe this gregarious fish died of loneliness and inactivity and I still feel bad about it. He was also mourned by his many human friends; I am not kidding when I tell you I could've held a funeral for him and quite a few of my (his) friends would've attended! Shortly after Fred's passing I got another Red Devil Cichlid and I named him George, until "he" laid eggs. Now she's Gina, and she has a completely different personality from Fred. Fred was very laid-back and chill, whereas Gina is fiery and impetuous; for example, there is no way Gina would be patient enough for me to drop a food pellet in her waiting mouth; I show her the pellet through the glass and then just toss it in. It's like I'm feeding a Piranha; she often gets it before it hits the water! We have our games as well. I've moved to a new apartment and moved her from her old 40 gallon tank to a new 100 gallon. I will actually take her for a "run" (or perhaps she's taking me!); I will go from one end of the tank to the other, and she seems to enjoy waiting, and then sprinting to the other end where I am. We can do this over and over. Gina just turned 10.
From: Steve
Date: 1/20/2010
The red devil is by far the best single wet pet you could choose. They are full of personality and not fussy about who they impose that personality on. My devil is housed with just a royal pleco in a 120 gallon tank. He is all over the tank and attacks our dog if he dares to walk past the tank. He is not fussy about food and will make a right mess. The tank should be large and with a sand substrate as devils really like to dig. I have a cave for mine, but he rarely uses it. A fun fish to keep if you treat them right.
From: KC
Date: 6/5/2009
We've had our Red Devil Cichlid for over 2 years and we love him! We were unaware how large he would get, he's about 11 inches now. He has so much personality, he's always interacting with us as we watch tv and whenever we throw a ball for the dog he goes after it in the tank. He also 'attacks' the dog and cat when they happen past his tank. He is very territorial; when we first got him he was in with a Jack Dempsey, Pleco, and one or two others. After a few months though, he went after all of the fish and we had to put him by himself. If you get a Red Devil, I would definitely keep him solo and give him/her a large tank to live in. We just purchased a 90 gallon and he looks great. I highly recommend this fish if you don't mind having it as an only fish. Very territorial and aggressive.
From: Josh Cooper
Date: 5/19/2009
Red devils are not a communal fish, they are OK living with other breads of cichlids but when they grow to around the 10 cm mark they become incredibly territorial. If you want to keep plentiful amounts of cichlids in a tank together it is important that you introduce them to each other when they are young and you must have plenty of fish in the tank other wise some fish will just pick on one and this will most likely end in death therefore if there are many fish in the tank it is hard for one fish to have all the focus of bullying. Also a large size tank is needed to keep large cichlids and lots of rocks and caves for protection and use of distinction between there territories. If you are a beginner then it is probably not a good idea to keep cichlids it is probably better to start with easy fish like your mollies and platies and sword fish they are also not as expensive and easier to keep.





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